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The 4Ps of the marketing mix are written in stone (Price, Product, Place, Promotion). Etched beneath are the 3 additional Ps of the service marketing mix (Physical Evidence, Process and People).
The last of these, ‘People’, refers to the folks we employ and how they communicate with customers. But in the age of the Internet,the population is beginning to dictate the types of product/service people would like to see – they are the ones initiating the communication not the organisation.
This ‘Public Input’ is beginning to have an impact in the mix and some organisations are harnessing it’s power. Running shoes designed by the customer, ads designed by the audience; it’s early days but the newly empowered general public are finding their feet and beginning to voice their opinion.
Some would argue that the opportunity for any member of the public to publish anything, at any time, about a brand is simply an impossible task to manage and I would agree with this but only in part. This is not a case of issues management it is a case of developing pro-active strategies to influence public opinion through the Internet.
This needs to begin with education. Teachers and students both need to understand that there is an 8th ‘P’ in the mix and start including strategies in the marketing plan to harness ‘Public input’. The companies that realise this shift in the marketing mix and act on itwill be the ones that flourish, those that continue to dictate rather than converse, in my humble opinion, will be those that are left behind.
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